My first LASA conference was in September 1992 in Los Angeles and 20 years later the Latin American Studies Association came back to the Golden State. With over 5,000 attendees, the City by the Bay was to receive a good financial stimulus. These are, after all, tough times for California, where a tax increase is in the ballot for the June 4th primary election.
When news broke that Fidel Castro’s niece (Mariela) had received a visa to speak at the LASA conference, the group’s name was all over, even before anyone had set foot in San Francisco. A sample of media coverage before; during; and after; was a reminder of how the Caribbean island continues to “suscitar opiniones tan encontradas,” as heard at the hotel lobby.
SALALM had a small, but busy group (over 20 librarians and 3 vendors).
On the eve of the Conference’s opening Paloma Celis Carbajal (Wisconsin-Madison) and Teresa Chapa (UNC-Chapel Hill) were at the Libros Latinos warehouse searching away. They were joined by SALAMistas from Columbia, Emory, Iowa, Princeton, and Texas over the next few days as they all looked for those rare/unique items to enhance their library collections.
The enthusiastic group even came down to Stanford, where they visited our library’s Calligraphic Artist book exhibit and a last minute display of treasures from the Hoover Institution Archives next door.
The program had almost 1000 panels; tightly spread over 3 days, with SALALM librarians among the many panelists (the Library of Congress offered a workshop on how to integrate its many resources into teaching). In addition to the almost non-stop presentations, there was the now traditional Film Festival and the book exhibit (with Iberoamericana, Latin American Book Source and Libros Latinos present).
The exhibit hall had not only US-based publishers but also those from as far as Chile (Cuarto Propio) and even closer shores (El Colegio de Mexico and The Red Nacional Al Texto). At a time when eBooks are the constant topic of conversation in the profession, the bulk of the exhibit was paper-based. Probably the few exceptions being GALE CENGAGE (wondering where, were the librarians who had not yet purchased their) World Scholar: Latin America & the Caribbean; the HAPI-Hispanic American Periodicals Index; and Project Muse, which showcased its recent ebook package of university press titles. The HAPI booth also served as a gathering point for SALAMistas more than once.
The last day of the conference hosted the much awaited book sale at 50% for most titles. I had wanted to buy an art book earlier and the vendor reminded me of the discount “with better deals, as the closing hour approaches.”
A dozen SALALM members attended ALA’s annual conference in New Orleans this past June. The group’s presence was felt at an ideally located booth, which had a definite local flair with beads and other colorful adornments. The stand was ready for visitors on Friday (6/24) and closed on Monday (6/27).
The day before (6/23) SALALM and other library groups/associations participated in the 2011 Spectrum Institute Professional Options Fair organized by ALA’s Diversity Office and sponsored by OCLC Inclusion Initiative. The event hosted more than 100 current MLS students from Library Schools all over the country. Hortensia Calvo and I talked to about 20 of these Spectrum Scholars who saw the words “Latin America” at our table.
Our collective presence at the exhibit hall made possible a visit to the aisle hosting several library schools. Hortensia and I met several of the representatives and gave them informational handouts about SALALM, ALZAR and ISIS. Some knew we existed, and for others we were a new group on their radar screen. SALALM members at institutions with MLIS program are encouraged to ensure not only that our informational materials are visible to students but to “insinuate” ourselves as Latin American Studies Librarianship ambassadors to any job fair events for information professionals.
The conference also provided opportunities to learn about new products. Hortensia, Sean Knwolton and I were at a presentation where Oxford Bibliographies Online showcased their upcoming Latin American Studies file. I asked about pricing models and noted that the traditional formula of all campus FTE was not applicable for a product that would have a much more reduced number of users. A few days earlier I had expressed that same concern to another vendor of Spanish language ebooks. This issue was also raised at an ebook panel at Philadelphia’s SALALM conference. Vendors appear to understand that a different pricing model is needed and it’s really up to us to come up with a well documented alternative.
Thanks to all those who volunteered: Myra Appel, Roberto Delgadillo, Tony Harvell, Deb Raftus, John Wright, Sean Knowlton, Denise Stuempfle, Cecilia Sercán, and Michael Scott. Very special thanks to Hortensia Calvo and Carol Avila from SALALM’s Executive Secretariat who covered much of the three days of the exhibit.
Aquiles Alencar Brayner (BL) and Lucia Shelton (OCLC) at the National Library of Chile
The digital library, as many people have suggested, is everywhere. New technologies allow us to gather a massive number of information in digital format and carry it with us in a myriad of technological devices such as laptops, pen drives, mobile phones and e-readers. Never in history have we had this easy access to information. The problem we all face is how to deal with this new digital situation: which sources to use for the retrieval of pertinent information? What to select and how to archive materials in electronic format for future generations? How to deal with issues of preservation in the digital world? As one might guess, the First Conference on National Digital Libraries held in Santiago (Chile) last week had more questions than answers. We all agreed that ours is an age of ‘infoxication’ and that national and academic libraries have to act quickly in order to find the antidote for the treatment of this new syndrome. Many of the presentations in the conference raised common issues faced by National libraries when dealing with electronic publications, including the lack of depository laws for digital-born material and the development of new tools and standards for managing electronic information. Participants had also the opportunity to learn about international digital initiatives such as the World Digital Library
set up by the Library of Congress and other similar projects being developed in Latin America and Spain such as the Biblioteca Digital Pedro de Angelis, a digitisation project led by the national libraries of Argentina and Brazil; and the Biblioteca Digital Iberoamericana, a collaborative project between various Ibero-American national libraries. The message that came across in the conference was straight forward: by creating strategies for effective selection (especially by avoiding duplication of collections and coordinating digitisation programmes), sharing access to digital information and setting up best practices for preservation, libraries will be in a better position to take decisions and lead the discussion on digital information, providing efficient and innovative service for our users.
[Cross-posted from LALA-L]
We still have a few ALA librarian rooms available if you have not applied for the Free Pass and you still want to come to Guadalajara. You need to be an individual member of ALA and be involved in collection development. Airfares are still quite reasonable, but we need to hear from you immediately. The application is herewith attached; please fill out and email it back to me ASAP.
If you have already applied, your application is being processed. Please be patient with us.